Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A not-so-lucky day

February 14, 2012—Luck wasn’t with us today, but it was a good day nevertheless.

Because bad weather (rain and snow) was forecasted in the mountains for today, we decided to postpone our trip to the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Instead, we thought we would drive down to Lordsburg (about an hour toward the Arizona border) and visit a ghost town.

We pulled into the visitors’ center to get directions to the ghost town called Shakespeare. The hostess said it was only a few miles down the road, but it was closed until March. Can a ghost town be closed? Well, it turns out it can be. We drove to the site of the town thinking that we could perhaps walk around, even if the buildings weren’t open. No deal. The town is fenced off and padlocked. Apparently admission is charged when it is open ($4 per adult), and several buildings (both original and recreated) are open to the public. But, today it was closed.

Since Shakespeare was out, we asked “Garmina” (our GPS) if there were any other ghost towns in the area. Yes! There was one called Stein 20 miles down I10.

Alas! When we got to Stein, it was closed. Of all things, the ghost town was in the process of “remodeling.” How do you remodel a ghost town? Ah, well.

The next leg of our journey today was to go back to Silver City. According to the brochure put out by the city, there were supposed to be some ruins—a fort as well as some other historical sites—along Rte. 90. Although they weren’t ghost towns, we thought they would be interesting to see. I suppose they would have been, if we could have found them, but there was nary a sign to tell us where they were!

It was about 1:30 by the time we got to Silver City, and we were pretty hungry. After consulting a list of restaurants put out by the Chamber of Commerce, we programmed Garmina to find one called Q Bistro. We went round and round, but we couldn’t find it, so we parked and went to our second choice, Svetch. Guess what? It was closed.
We got in the car and tried to find an open restaurant—almost any restaurant. We couldn’t believe how many were closed. We finally picked out a Mexican restaurant that advertised its hours “8 a.m. to p.m.” (Which p.m.?) I think they close for the day when the customers stop coming in. We seemed to be the last customers. I had genuine tamales; Jim had eggs and chorizo sausage (all day breakfast).
After lunch, we toured the local museum (donation only admission), and then enjoyed a gelato before heading back to “Baby.”
Our day wasn’t quite done, though. Throughout the day, the skies had darkened and periodically spit out snow showers. The snow was not flaky. It wasn’t ice, either. If anything, the “flakes” resembled micro hail, little pellets that melted as it hit the car or the ground.
As you travel on the highways in this state, you occasionally see signs warning of dust storms. They advise putting on your headlights and pulling entirely off the road during periods of zero visibility.
We had seen dust devils occasionally rising from the barren fields. Today we were in a combination dust storm/snow-rain storm. It was awesome to see and experience.
Snow-rain clouds from above meet dust storm at the horizon

Converged systems

The clouds were hanging very low and traveled very slowly throughout the day. The wind blew about 35 mph (or more)—a very cold wind—that, in certain areas, picked up a broad area of dust. The dust and the snow-rain clouds seemed to converge as they came toward us. Jim had seen them coming and wanted to experience them firsthand, so we pulled off the road and waited.
Zero visibility did not occur, but we could not see the mountains in the distance. The storm was so slow-moving we decided to head home. It reached home about the same time we did. It felt good to be inside as the wind gusted around us.
Today wasn’t very lucky, but it was a good day nevertheless. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll be able to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings, weather permitting.
Until next time,
Your Reluctant RoVer,

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